Joe Osmundson wrote Capsid: A Love Song, a short piece in which he explores what it means to live with HIV, or the threat of it, as a young gay man in 21st century New York. Links to Joe’s other writings on gender, queerness, and science — including pieces for Gawker, The Feminist Wire, and the Los Angeles Review of Books — can be found on his website.
“Even before I understood that I wanted to sleep with men, I knew that sex could be death. I am a child of the ’90s. I saw the pictures on TV. It was always on TV, and never in my life. It was always them, not us. It was hidden, though, and could get you at any time. Pleasure was never safe, only safer. Today, tonight, when I go home, when I fuck, HIV will sit in the back of my brain, a thought not molded into stone, inchoate but present. Present, just there. Is this the time?”